Shaking Off the Dust! Mark 6:7-13

Text: “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them.  Verily (truly) I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgement, than for that city.”

Mark 6:11.

Good morning, publicly scorned Christian!  You know, in a most personal way, how much it hurts to be publicly scorned; openly ridiculed; and blatantly ignored – as you live a Christ-honouring life before men, and as you seek to share the Gospel message of Christ and Him Crucified for the sins of “His people”. 

Your heart’s deepest desire is to see the souls of fellow sinners all around you – in your home; in the workplace; or in the town/city in which you abide - hearing the Gospel of Eternal Salvation in Christ and being glorious delivered from all sin.

“The fruit of the righteous (made righteous in Christ Jesus) is a tree of life; and he/she that winneth (wins, and continues to win) souls is wise.”  (Proverbs 11:30)

However, as we seek to fulfil our God-given ministries as Christ’s servants, so often we are confronted by ignorance and unbelief; hardened hearts; and outright Satanic oppositions to the Gospel message of Salvation we are tasked to preach/teach.  This is merely an observable fact of a serving Christian’s life; and all who will try to serve the risen Lord Jesus, shall face such hurtful oppositions.

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try (prove, test) you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.  If ye be reproached for the Name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.”  (1 Peter 4:12-14)

Personal Testimony:

The author of Marching In Mark’s Gospel, was a “…chief among sinners…’ indeed; a political terrorist that no man could tame; a militant servant of Satan for 32 years of my life.

Then, within a maximum-security prison here in Northern Ireland, UK, in 1979, the Lord God quickened my dead spirit, called me to Salvation in and through the Atonement Sacrifice of Christ Jesus; and during the 42 years since then, I have been seeking to serve my Lord and Saviour, in the preaching and teaching of His inspired Word.  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins…even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).”  (Ephesians 2:1;5)

As I sought to share the Gospel one day in a prison workshop, as we waited to return to the main section of the H Blocks – one prisoner began to deride my Christian faith.  I persevered with this prisoner, in the sight and hearing of many other terrorist prisoners, but he continued on in showing vile and utter contempt for my Christian faith, and the Gospel message I was trying to share with him and the others.  He was becoming more and more bitter and vocal with his ridicule and cursed and swore at me in denouncing the Gospel truth.  So, the Lord guided me to take an extreme course of action towards this inmate’s foul opposition.

As the rest of the terrorist inmates looked on - interested in how I would deal with this crude and blatant detractor - I calmly sat down in the sawdust of the joinery workshop floor; slowly took off my prison boot; and, looking all the while straight and unwavering into the belligerent detractor’s eyes, proceeded to shake the sawdust out of my prison boot.

“What are you doing!”, the guy said.  So, I told him in no uncertain terms: “I have loved you enough to share the Gospel message of forgiveness of sins through the Cross of Christ Jesus; even as you have cursed me; and poured contempt upon God’s message of Salvation.  By your public detractions and refusal to accept the Word of God concerning your sins; and according to the Word of Christ contained in my Bible; I hereby shake off the dust of my feet for a testimony against you.  You shall NEVER ever again hear the Gospel of Salvation in Christ from my lips, until you come to me in full repentance of your unbelief and scorn.  May the Lord have mercy upon your sinful soul.  Amen.”  

“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them.  Verily (truly) I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgement, than for that city.”  (Mark 6:11)

The belligerent inmate, and all those other terrorist onlookers, suddenly turned pale, as the Spirit of God brushed by their souls with a knowledge of Eternal doom.  I slowly put my boot back on, and made my way out of the prison workshop.

“And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man…”  (Genesis 6:3)

J.C. Ryle Comments:

“We have the Bible in our houses. We hear of the salvation of the Gospel fre­quently every year. But have we received it into our hearts? Have we really obeyed it in our lives? Have we, in short, laid hold on the hope set before us, taken up the cross, and followed Christ? —If not, we are far worse than the heathen, who bow down to stocks and stones. We are far more guilty than the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. They never heard the Gospel, and therefore never rejected it. But as for us, we hear the Gospel, and yet will not believe. May we search our own hearts, and take heed that we do not ruin our own souls!” (J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels 1816-1900)

Thought: Public reproof is an integral part of serving Christ Jesus.  Receive it as a gift.

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